This is difficult, because a lot of the things I loved about lockdown came at the expense of things I loved more. Still, I want to find and acknowledge the positives.
I hope everyone’s managed to find some positives in their own personal lockdown – maybe you had time off work and managed to read more, or walk more, or speak to more friends? Maybe this was a time of reflection and new decisions? Maybe this was the final straw for a bad relationship, and now you’re free? Or the time you needed to finally connect with someone you’d been meaning to get to know, who’s now more fully a part of your life?
I’m trying to look for some positives…
The days with my children
My mother teaching my children how to cook, via Zoom
This wonderful woman, who previously had just about managed email, took on the challenge of Zoom and managed to teach my children, in our kitchen, to make tuna flan, Lancashire hot pot, and macaroni cheese. Meanwhile my awesome father penned long, handwritten letters to my children, and they wrote back. Neither of these things will compensate for lost real-time with them, but I admire their resilience, their flexibility, their rise to the challenge. Aside from the cooking and writing, they taught my children self-control, and how to make the best of a bad deal.
Catching up with old college friends
who reached out and made contact. It’s been magical to catch up with these wonderful, intelligent, warm women who knew me when I was young. There’s something very special about that, and I want to keep them in my life long after lockdown is over.
This was hard in the circumstances but again, to look only at the positives for a moment, I worked hard for the year and met – online – wonderful people in many countries. Perhaps as a direct result of lockdown, I may have been invited to more meetings. Some of the conferences, training sessions, or discussion forums may not have been possible to attend in person; it’s much cheaper and easier to dial in, turn on a camera, and be there only for the relevant parts. In that sense, things have opened up.
Public speaking online
– far more than before. A lot (not all!) of my self-consciousness has been squeezed out of me. I don’t miss it, and I don’t want it back.
The kids and I learned how to make linked hearts out of two mobius strips, how to write fairy tales, and listened to beautiful piano pieces. It was magical.
My kids opted to do some volunteer work and, since we were unable to join in with group activities, we picked rubbish off the local beaches. I’ll write about this separately, but it was a far more interesting experience than we expected, and rewarding. We also tried to support mental health care in a local school; one day, I’d love to study child development.
Getting to know people… differently
When everything’s awkward and different, and most people are tired, overworked, or worried, we show different aspects of ourselves. We also see different aspects of other people. The ones who still reach out, who are vulnerable themselves but still try to help others – these people are gold. Most of us make mistakes in our tiredness, and show our humanity; some people become defensive or selfish, perhaps out of fear or worry. Sometimes seeing other people’s vulnerabilities shines a real spotlight on their good points, their strengths. In an unexpected way, they become more whole.
Not giving a crap about what I look like
Yeyyy! 😁 – trying to look half-decent for work, school or restaurants was always a bit of a chore. My black, fluffy tracksuit bottoms with the hole in the knee, the chunky boots (DMs, I’m such a cliché…) and the baggy jumper (Eldest’s outgrown)… with very short hair and stud earrings… that’s my natural look. Perhaps lipstick on a posh day, because my mum gives me the good stuff, and I’ll swap in a bikini or trail runners for sport, but that’s it. I’m really happy being a mess, I’ve loved that. There’s a 90-10 chance I’ll never go back to “nice” clothes (that I hate).
I’d like to say that I learned to live mindfully, or to speak Spanish, but I was busy trying to clean my house, and swearing at the broken washing machine. Screw it, I got the laundry done. Small wins.
We pushed a few peronal limits trying to combine education and paid work. Although that isn’t necessarily comfortable, it’s an interesting learning process to find those limits. In a week off, while writing this, I’m just starting to unfold from the effort of months of constant activity. Tiny glimmers of relaxation are sparkling through, in between domestic catch-up chores and much-needed hard exercise.
I hope this time brings changes. I hope I’ve grown and learned. I hope I’ve become more brave and more forgiving, more tolerant and thoughtful, and more open and warm. I hope to come out of this with more knowledge, more close friends, and a much greater scope and understanding of where we want to be – and, if I’m really lucky, who.
I hope the time comes soon when we can safely end the lockdown, and reconnect with everyone.
wishing you all safe passage and happy times ahead.
Love, health, and peace